Vulnerability

 

A few weeks ago, I spent some time catching up with my former manager. She’s always been a great mentor for me and someone that I’ve always thought has her head on straight, can look at situations objectively and always aims to do the right thing.

While her and I were catching up, she recommended a Ted Talk to me that I thought was a really good reminder of both the need we all have for connection and the paradox of how our behavior inhibits us from creating those connections.

Brene spent six years doing the research that she pulls together in this Ted Talk, so her series of thoughts that tie together are somewhat complex. She walks through her process in the video and this is the summary as I interpret it:

She talks about uncovering the key to our fear of disconnection, which is shame. Shame, she says, makes us scared to become disconnected from others. The only way we can become truly connected to others is by letting ourselves become completely vulnerable, and having no fear or shame.
Of the people she interviews, she breaks them into two groups:
Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging, and
Those who do not have a strong sense of love and belonging
She determined what the difference is between these two types of people. Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging BELIEVE that they are WORTHY of love and belonging. That is it. It seems so basic, but for a lot of people, this is an incredibly difficult belief to produce.
She then focused her time on those who exhibited that belief of worthiness. She calls these people “whole-hearted.” The main characteristic she determined these people had in common, was courage. These people had the courage to be imperfect and to be compassionate with themselves and others about that imperfection.
She draws a distinction here, which I think is particularly interesting. That is, the difference between courage and bravery. She explains the roots of the word courage, which essentially explains that the word means “to tell the story of your heart.”
At the end of the day, she says these people were able to let go of who they thought they had to be, in order to be who they are. By becoming completely authentic and vulnerable, they were actually able to create true connections with people.

She goes on to give some examples of how we as a society tend to try to numb the bad things we feel, but at the end of the day, that numbing results in numbing both the bad things and the good things, because it is not possible to selectively numb. It’s clear in the video that all of these findings created a life-changing revelation for Brene and she decides to pursue the work that allows her to become vulnerable, which I felt was both incredibly courageous and brave.

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Tell Me Lies

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Chapter 1:
Since the New Year started, I’ve been listening a lot more to my favorite band, Fleetwood Mac. I grew up in a household with a record player and my parents had a lot of great records: Steve Miller, the Doobie Brothers, Hall and Oats, and of course Fleetwood Mac.

Chapter 2:
My biological father was not really a super great guy. While his intentions might have been good, he treated the people around him (especially those who loved him most) quite horribly. He threatened my mom and when I was older I discovered tapes of phone calls (yes, they were actual tapes) my mom had recorded as evidence in case anything ever happened.

Chapter 3:
When I was older (I think around 5 or 6) I was fortunate enough to have my step-dad adopt me from my biological father and that is who I refer to as my dad.

Chapter 4:
When I would sit and listen to Fleetwood Mac as a pre-teen on the record player, the song “Tell Me Lies,” always made me think of my biological father. I strongly believe that because of this experience, I have this odd and relatively annoying ability to sniff out people with selfish intentions, toxicity and narcissism. It’s also not great because combined with my other odd and relatively annoying skill of being a truth-teller, it’s not uncommon for me to be disliked by people who fall into this category.

Chapter 5:
What I’ve always been fascinated by, since this experience at a young age, is how everyone has different ranges of what a lie is. On the surface, it seems obvious – a lie is something that isn’t true. But as we know, everyone’s perspective determines what their truth is.

Chapter 6:
I’ve referenced this book before and it’s available in the Streamline library. The Four Agreements has a very specific definition of honesty. Brian (my husband) read this book recently and actually adapted this portion of the book as one of his New Year’s resolutions. The Four Agreements include one agreement, called:

Be Impeccable with Your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

From my perspective, the most important part – and one of the most difficult parts when we’re challenged by those who don’t – is to Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

I truly believe if every person made the promise to use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love, we would live in a much more harmonious and positive world. If you read the book, you’ll also know that the 4th agreement is to always do your best. The point is that we don’t have to be perfect at being impeccable with our word, but if we’re constantly trying our best to be impeccable with our word, we are succeeding.

Truth Versus Reality

Yesterday I heard a segment on NPR that really got me thinking and I thought it was worth sharing. The main question that was asked and answered that was particularly fascinating to me was, “how is truth different than reality?”

The journalist, Brooke Gladstone, talks about it in her book and her answer is that the truth are facts, things that are proven. Reality, however, incorporates truth, but truth could really only make up 25% of our own reality. We all take our experiences, influences, and perspectives and apply that to facts we digest, which ultimately determines our reality. We all have different realities that we live in and some of ours are closer to some than others.
Brooke Gladstone applies this concept to the current political environment, but it can also be applied to partner marketing quite easily. It’s not uncommon for there to be a difference of reality between us, the partners we work with or our clients. Understanding the whole context of what makes up their reality often helps overcome the disparity, which is also something that Brooke urged listeners to do. Listening to people and understanding what is shaping their reality is crucial to solving problems and differences.
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